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Local News

January 9, 2014

Council denies control of tax

New tourism committee will decide how to fund itself

(Continued)

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

Cities of the fourth and fifth class are permitted by KRS 91A.400 to levy a tax on restaurant sales to fund local tourism commissions. All money received from a restaurant tax must be turned over to the city’s tourism and convention commission.

According to the Kentucky League of Cities, only around 16 percent of cities allowed to levy a restaurant tax have chosen to do so.  Although restaurant taxes accounted for only one percent of total tax collection in the state, they provided $11.2 million in revenue in FY 2011.

“We are doing more with tourism than ever before,” said Councilman Jim Hays. “The city provides good services and protection to attendees and the community during these events. All these services cost money. We have to find ways to pay for these costs and one way would be a possible restaurant tax.

“One thing about a restaurant tax is it is the only totally optional tax we have,” Hays continued. “I don’t have kids, but I have to pay school tax. You don’t have to eat out, that’s optional. A school tax is not.”

Lewis was invited to bring his concerns to the Tourism and Convention Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20 at City Hall, where the commission is expected to discuss possibilities for their funding.

Councilmember, and also the Tourism and Convention Commission Chairman, Jason Handy was not present at Monday’s meeting due to illness.

Representatives from Appalachian Wireless presented the council with a request to add cellular antennas to a specific billboard on Ky. 192 in London.

The six cellular antennas and one microwave dish requested to be added to the billboard would improve cellular reception inside buildings as it would serve as Appalachian Wireless’ only cellular antennas positioned facing the fronts of shopping centers in London.

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